Saturday, March 1, 2014

Short Review of the Book True Reason

True Reason is a great offering of reasoned responses to the "New Atheists." With the popularity of these anti-theist writers, it's good to see them called out on their irrational positions. As a Christian myself it's an insult to read these anti-theists' books and be called irrational, delusional, etc. When, if one really takes a good hard look at the arguments, the converse is actually true. The Christian Apologist has much more reasonable answers than these New Atheists. This book does a great job collating and responding to the many fallacious arguments throughout the New Atheists' writings. I highly recommend this book for the apologist looking for reasonable responses to brash New Atheists' claims. It's also great for any ordinary lay person that has heard these New Atheists spouting off with bold claims of truth or anti-truth etc. and wants to hear more about these extraordinary claims. The entire text is filled with great arguments and powerful blows to poor arguments offered up in New Atheists' writings but to be the best chapter is the eighth chapter, The Explanatory Emptiness of Naturalism. Most of the other chapters respond to specific issues in specific arguments, but this chapter combines several components of theistic arguments and the huge holes throughout naturalism. My favorite simple argument is in chapter eight.
1. If science explains things, then naturalism is false.
2. Science explains things.
3. Therefore, naturalism is false
Secular humanists/atheists/naturalists will try to claim 1. If science explains things, then naturalism is true. However, and the chapter explains this quite thoroughly, Naturalism itself if full of holes for which it will never find answers.

I do have more to say about the text but I haven't the time!  This review is posted on Goodreads as well as Amazon.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Expressing Oneself in a Foreign Language

Some of you may know that I'm currently attending a special Korean language program in Korea.  I'm studying at Kyunghee University (경희대학교) in Seoul.  It's funny, even as I'm trying to type the name of the university in English, I'm having trouble, because I only see it in my mind's eye as 경희.  Well anyways, I LOVE IT!  One of the best things has been the friends that I've made already.  I'll be honest, I could get the same classwork/teaching in Japan (on Okinawa), they occasionally have teachers come and they put on a great class!  But, the real benefit of coming here to Korea is the chance to interact with it everyday and everywhere, especially as I make friends.  If I were going to class on Okinawa, sure it'd be able to go home to my family every night, but my use of the language would be limited outside of class.  While I'm here I have to use Korean all the time!  I use it to do laundry, turn on/off the heater in my room, order coffee at the coffee shop (though they use a lot of English there), order food at every restaurant, at the grocery (that was tough, I don't deal with food that much in English, so it was much harder in Korean), etc. etc.

Really the best part though, is making Korean friends.  The very first night I was here, I had eaten dinner and was looking for a bar that the waiter had recommended.  I was lost, and as I walked I was looking for someone from which to get directions.  I saw a young(ish) looking man walking my way and we made eye contact and I guess my face said I had a question before my voice did, because he stopped, pulled out his earphones and greeted me in English.  I generally make it a habit to not try to talk to people wearing earphones so after telling him I had a question I appologised for interrupting him.  I told him what I was looking for, and in true Korean style, he said that he would go with me looking for it.  Well, quite easily, we found the bar and he came in with me, sat down and we talked for hours, even though he had been at work since early that morning.  Turns out, he's a writer for a Korean newspaper the "Segye Daily [News]" ("세계일보").  We chatted for a long time, exchange contact information and went our merry ways, though we've gotten together again since at a beautiful little cafe that has more LPs than one could ever hope to finish, at which he introduced me to a friend from high school (or middle school I don't remember).  Since that first chance meeting I've made many other friends, some of which replied (within minutes) to an ad I posted on Craigslist (odd, I know I've never used Craigslist before).

Which brings me to the point of this whole entry:

I was chatting with my newest language exchange partner (언어교환친구) and we started talking about communication.  Let me tell you, this was really difficult with my limited vocabulary!  Try communicating something like this:

Chart Credit:
In a different language!  Talk about meta!  Talking about communicating whilst communicating and dealing with the worst types of interference.  It's not pictured on this particular diagram, but anyone who's studied communication knows that it's never this simple.  There's so much interference between each step.  The "sender" has interference in translating thoughts into words, or in my case into words in different languages.  Then there's interference in the channel/media, maybe the "receiver" doesn't hear the whole message, maybe the receiver is seeing one visual/non-verbal message but receiving a different message, etc. etc.  Well, I love this kind of thing and the only thing that I don't like about spending time here is the constant reminder/humbling I receive showing me just how much I don't know when it comes to expressing myself in Korean.

Sunset from Seoul Tower

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Just Who is Making Extraordinary Claims?

I just read this great blog entry by +Rob Lundberg and I wanted to put in my thoughts on this interesting challenge.

The idea, as Rob so clearly presents it, comes from the late Carl Sagan and the preface to Peter Boghossian’s book, A Manual for Creating Atheists.  I can't say that I've actually had this challenge levied at me before, but I've seen it in many an online discussion.  Honestly, I don't have nearly as much to say on this matter but I did want to ask a question.  Who is making the truly extraordinary claim?

Take this analogy.  You're watching a magic show and you see the stage magician pull a live rabbit out of an empty hat, you'd think (and you'd be right) that the magician is making an extraordinary claim.  That is, the ability to make something, the rabbit, out of nothing, the air in the hat (which is technically not 'nothing,' but for the sake of this argument let's leave it there).  Now, that is not unlike the claim of theists.  I know, I know, before all the apologists that happen to read this send me nasty grams, let me explain.  Keep the image of the magic show...  Only this time, there is no magician.  There is no hat.  There really is no stage either, but let's stop it there.  And, with no intervention by anyone at any time.  A rabbit appears on the stage.  THAT is the atheist's claim.  Now, without any formal philosophical training or anything, just the regular guy doing regular life.  Which one seems more extraordinary?  Keep in mind, that technically the analogy falls short, it's not a rabbit that is pulled from the hat.  It's the entire universe created ex nihilo (from nothing).

So, I know there are going to be some objections.  Let me approach some now.  Some claim that the universe has always existed.  Let's apply the same analogy.  This time, there is no magician still, and no hat.  Only a rabbit.  That never gets old or when it does get old it suddenly implodes and becomes a baby again, and then continues this cycle of getting older and then popping back into youth and never being born and never dying.  Is that more reasonable than the previous claim?  Is that verifiable?  Okay let's look at another.  There are an infinite number of universes out there.  Now, our stage and the extraordinary claim hasn't gotten any easier or more rational.  If anything we've now multiplied the extraordinary claim by an infinite.  And I don't know what you learned in math, but I'm pretty sure anything times an infinite is an infinite.  So now we have either an infinite number of sequential rabbits popping onto an infinite number of stages one at at time popping into existence living an unknown amount of time and then dying in an unknown way for no reason.  Or, we have no magician and no hat and an infinite number of rabbits all popping into existence at the same time.

So again I ask, Who is really making extraordinary claims and is really required to provide extraordinary evidence?

Seoul Tower near sunset
There's millions (maybe I didn't count them) of these locks with wishes/messages of love by Seoul Tower.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

This is Not a Travel Blog But...

But, I'm travelling so I'm going to talk about it.

I'm visiting Korea.  It's lots of fun so far and I'm getting back my fluency in Korean quite well (I think).  This time around I'm in a class with a bunch of foreign students and some Americans, but fortunately the Americans I've made friends with are at least trying to use Korean most of the time.  Of course when we talk about certain topics we swap easily back and forth from English to Korean.  It's been quite pleasant.

Last night, I rode the subway to Dongdaemun (동대문).  There's a huge old gate there, unfortunately under construction but I took some fisheye-lens photos of it.  We also walked around through one of the large markets (시장) there.  I found where the fabric market is, because Michelle really wants to go there so I made sure I knew where to find it.  I also went back to Shinchon (신촌) to see if I could find some of the places I had been before.  Found a bar that I went to before to practice Korean, but it was completely empty even at 9:45p on a Friday night!  We walked around that whole district for hours and hours, just looking at all the stores and bars and shops etc.  It was nice though I eventually got tired of walking.  I've already gotten lots of practice in and I've already improved.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do this weekend, I have lots of things to do: study, dinner, walk around more, etc. etc. etc.

Here are some of the fisheye lens photos I took while out:

Dongdaemun at Night
View from my window at night
My room
WOW Embroidery machine!  
Busy college district nightlife
Busy street at night

Friday, January 17, 2014

Faith and Philosophy Blog Carnival, January 2014, Final Edition

Suellyn Rahming Smith presents Kick Fear In The Rear in 2014! posted at Life As I Know It!.

Sorry this is late but I have really been slacking when it comes to blog work lately.  Due to a lack of entries and a lack of interest this is the final edition of the Faith and Philosophy Blog Carnival.  I have had a good time, and seen some interesting blogs.  However, all good things come to an end and this is it for my foray into the Blog Carnival hosting world.  I may some day get involved in another blog carnival, but that's not even on the horizon yet.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New Series -- Sort of, Random Thoughts While Running #1

I am going to start a new series (well, technically not a series) of posts about thoughts I have while out running.  I've already talked about my thoughts while running.  But, I'd like to make it a consistent category of posts.  Mainly because my thoughts while running are pretty random.

Let's start with this thought:

I recently (today) read a great blog entry from Evidence Unseen about the discussion between Calvinism and Arminianism.  I've blogged about and thought about this topic before and this entry has only strengthened my confidence in my view that Calvinism/Reformed Theology (C/RT) is a poor view of what the Bible really teaches.  I'm not saying I have all the answers, I'm just convinced that we do actually have true free will, and it is much easier to reconcile free will with sovereignty than it is to reconcile predestination with free will.  Also, despite some indications to the contrary, the Arminian view is more biblically sound and verifiable than I've read in the past.  Here are just a few examples (taken from that previous link): 2 Peter 3:9 key phrase, "not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance."  In the C/RT view, how can we reconcile God not wanting any to perish but He creates (presumably) millions upon billions of people that will perish without God.  Why would a loving God create people that He knows He will not choose to take to heaven.  More verses: John 15:10; Joshua 24:15; John 3:18, obviously, God wants people to choose.  If there's no such thing as free will there's also no such thing as sin, unless God is choosing or making people sin (which is impossible, Isaiah 6:3, and many other verses).

One last point on this issue (for now).  A friend of mine that is a staunch C/RTheologian, said that God is 100% sovereign, and that Adam and Eve were the only free moral agents, everyone since the fall/initial sin is a slave to sin.  Now there's still a problem...  If God is truly 100% sovereign, that means he made Adam and Eve with the plan that they would sin.  So God is responsible for their sin also.  It was in His plan all along.  They weren't really free moral agents to do what they willed, because God had already planned that they would sin.  All of this, and more, leads me to say that C/RT has the more difficult issue, both biblically and philosophically, to show how God can predestine everything and yet teach us to choose/believe, and judge us based on those choices.

On to less weighty thoughts!  I want to write at least two open letters.  I often see "open letters" talked about on blogs and other websites and I want to write at least two.  One, to atheists--well really to theists as well--that in discussions, we need to first discuss definitions of what we're to discuss before we discuss God, creation, biogenesis, etc.  The second and the one I was thinking about tonight as I ran was an open letter to all runners (I won't write all my thoughts out in this entry but this is my start):

Dear Fellow Runners,

Please try to throw off the shackles of your predisposition and prejudice and TAKE OFF YOUR FOOT-COFFINS!  Pardon the barefooter parlance, but "foot-coffins" are shoes.  I know it's tough.  When I first heard of the idea I was a bit sceptical.  But really I promise, you will like it.  Sure it might hurt a bit in different areas than when you run with your coffins on.  But I promise you will eventually grow to love the freedom and comfort, yes comfort that comes when you free your piggies.  I'm not saying that you must forever go barefoot.  In fact I'm really only encouraging you to try it.  I've not been running barefoot everywhere all the time since I started, but I'll tell you, my favorite "shoes" is when I'm not wearing shoes at all.

I won't lie, I recently restarted distance running training and tried to jump into it after a long break completely barefoot and I wasn't comfortable.  Since I need to train, and completely barefoot wasn't a viable option at the distances I need to run, I've been wearing my huaraches.  If you can't get around it, I recommend that if you cannot (because of whatever reason) go completely barefoot, try New Balance Minimus or Merrell's Barefoot line.  I personally run in Merrell Barefoot Trail Run shoes because I'm forced to by military regulations and they're pretty good, but just not as good as my huaraches, and I even prefer barefoot to my huaraches.

A few caveats: if you're planning or working on a PR in an upcoming race--that you're already pretty far along in you training for--don't switch.  If you're in an environment where the temperatures reach dangerous levels (though it is possible, I don't feel the danger is worth the risk).  If you struggle with real health issues like diabetes or some other significant health issue that affects your foot sensitivity (keep in mind I'm not a doctor, and I don't take any responsibility for your health).  Also, a word of caution and the reason I say hold off if you're working towards a PR or some other significant race, go slow.  I'm talking painfully slow.  I've heard some barefoot running teachers say only run one mile at a time for a couple weeks, and only add one mile a week for months.  Go slow, and immediately you'll feel the benefits, but if you go too fast and too far too soon, you run the risk of hurting yourself and you won't be able to enjoy it.

So do it, go out there, take off your shoes, and go run.  Set your piggies free!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Year in Review 2013

Well, I definitely didn't keep up with my goals for 2013:
  • Read through the Bible cover-to-cover and post about it on Facebook
  • Read 50 books throughout the year
  • Train for and complete at least a half ironman triathlon
Yeah I didn't do any of those!  I only read a few hundred pages of the Bible, I don't remember exactly where I left off, but I'll definitely be restarting that goal in 2014.  I've never really read through cover-to-cover, but I would still like to complete this goal sooner rather than later I just need to take more time to read.  Speaking of, I didn't finish fifty books throughout 2013 either.  I only got through about twelve, not too bad considering I probably read enough with my classes to amount to probably thirty small to moderate size books.  I didn't train for a tri at all!  I did some running and I would be ready for the Okinawa marathon in February, but now that I'm going to be in Korea from late January to late February, I'm not going to be able to do it.  I am trying to find a half-marathon while I'm in Korea.  If I can find one near where I'll be, I'll try to register for it.  So there you have it folks, I'm just like the vast majority of westerners in that I failed at all my resolutions.  Oh well, there's always next year right?

On that note my next year's goals are going to be a bit more realistic:
  • Read through the Bible cover-to-cover
  • Read at least two more books throughout the year than I did in 2013
  • Train for and complete at least a half marathon
Now to a review of my year in blogging:

#1 My primary topics have been Faith and Philosophy.  Also, I completed Discovering the Philosopher in You series and I'm about halfway through The Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas I've also reviewed a couple books, and I owe you all a review of The Case for a Creator.

#2 By far the most viewed post has been: Faith and Philosophy Blog Carnival, August 2013, 7th Edition the most read of my entries was: A Philosophical Approach to Abortion, by far the most commented on post was: Discovering the Philosopher in You: Part 13: God: Can the Existence of God Be Proven?

#3 I haven't had as many guest posts as I would like and my attempts to build this into a cooperative blog haven't panned out at all, perhaps someday.

#4 I've already talked about some of my upcoming events/plans so I won't repeat myself.

I have been able to complete another editing project with Steven Specht though it hasn't been published yet.  I didn't spend any time on my dad's work, but that's a much bigger project and I'm having problems digging into that work.  I have had a good year blogging and I've really enjoyed the interactions foster through blogging and Google+.  I've had seventy-eight entries this year (seventy-nine after this one), and my pageviews have steadily risen over time with an all-time high of 2,000+ in December, I'm over 22,000 for the total views since I started way back in May 2007 (though I really have only been blogging regularly since June 2012).  I am a bit proud of the work I done with this blog and I will continue to work on it for many years to come.

I'm discontinuing the Faith and Philosophy blog carnival though; there have been very few entries the last couple months and I feel like it's run its course.  There will be only one more edition though I still don't have any entries for it.  I didn't blog in Korean hardly at all, I think I only had two entries, it was just too difficult and time consuming.  I did post a digital portfolio for my work on my education degree and my future career plans, but it is far from complete.  I'm much more excited about my (planned) second career than I am about my current one.

Have a good night and a blessed new year!

I've posted pictures of the aquarium before but this is my favorite

Monday, December 30, 2013

Upcoming Events and Club Involvement

There are a few upcoming events in my life that I want to talk about.  I've been thinking about this for a while and I'd like to air my ideas here.

First, (not in precedence in timeliness) is another trip to Korea.  I was privileged to visit Korea some years ago for a language class, and I'm slated to go back in late January.  Of course the timing could be better, what with it being winter and all my winter clothes are stored with all the rest of the stuff I didn't think I'd need living on a sub-tropical island.  So, I'll be spending about a month in Korea where the average high temps in Jan-Feb is between 34°F and 40°F so, yeah, chilly.  Oddly enough, last time I went to Korea it was in January.  I'm excited though, I had a good time the last time I went and I'm sure I'll have a good time again.  It'll be nice to be in a place where I'll be able to read the street signs.  I know a few Kanji (漢字, pronounced hanja 한자 in Korean) and some but not all of the kanas, so I can read some of the street signs here but the vast majority are a mystery to me.

Secondly, I've been looking into Focus on the Family's introductory apologetics program, The Truth Project, and I'm going to host a small discussion group that'll be going through the program when I'm back from Korea.  I've asked around and watched the promos and taken the host training program and I'm excited for this also.  I've enjoyed my own personal studies (and the one introductory college course) in apologetics and it will be neat to get a chance to discuss these topics with fellow believers.  The program is twelve lessons, each video about an hour long followed by discussion time.  That's the only downside to it, the time consumption.  Assuming some time to mingle and chit-chat, then an hour-long video, then discussion time.  In order to keep the total time for each session only two hours I'll have to limit the fellowship time and the discussion time.  I don't think everyone will want to sit around for hours discussing these things (I don't understand that, but I know it's common), but I'm sure there'll be enough good conversation that it'll be difficult to limit the discussion so people will be able to get back to their lives.

Third (and related to the second), I've been invited by a former coworker to start a Reasonable Faith apologetics group here on Okinawa.  There aren't any in Japan, so that's kind of a cool idea, to be the first group in Japan and the first in Okinawa.  I like Dr. William Lane Craig's apologetics lectures and his podcasts, though honestly his lecture voice is kinda dry, not unlike my own (main reason I don't do a podcast here, though I've thought about it).  His logic is pretty clearly stated though at times a bit high level.  This kind of group would be a great encouragement to deepen my own studies in apologetics.  Which brings up two final points.

I'm thinking about two or three other potential groups in which I'd like to participate.  I am always reminiscing about my high-school days when I ran with a cross country team and I was much faster and I think that if I could somehow get involved in a running club again, I might have more motivation and camaraderie to get some of my old speed back.  I've also been thinking about finding a language club to practice teaching English, while at the same time practicing Korean and Japanese.  And, I've recently discovered a chess group that meets on Saturdays.  It's only three older gentlemen right now, but my boys enjoy(ed) playing and I could use some over-the-board chess experience to improve my overall chess skill.  Maybe it's just rose-colored glasses but I've always felt that a group setting with encouragement and mutual support is the best place for training in a variety of disciplines.  Are any of you involved in similar clubs that have really made your life/studies/hobbies/etc. that much more enjoyable?  I've been in a variety of clubs and I hope that I can find/start some good groups while I live here in Okinawa.

Being a hippo is a rough life, especially at the zoo.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Farmer Blow & Getting Hit by Age

This entry could be titled "Farmer Blow Getting Hit by Age Random Thoughts While Running Twelve Miles in the Rain on Okinawa" but I thought that might be a bit much!

So there I was, as I said, running; I've been doing quite a bit running lately as I'm training for the Okinawa marathon in February.  By the way there's a decent chance that I'll be off island for work during the month of February, so if any of you are going to be in this neck of the woods and want to buy my registration I'll sell it to you for half price.  Back to my run.

I was around the three-mile mark (of twelve), and I found myself in need of a handkerchief.  So. For the first time in my life, I performed what is commonly called the "farmer blow."  For those of you that have never had the pleasure, a farmer blow is when one places one's finger on one nostril to close it, takes a deep breath (as much as one can while running), and blows hard out of the other side of one's nose; thereby expelling anything lodged in said nose.  Usually much to the vexation of anyone who happens to be running near (especially downwind) the person performing this classy maneuver.  Fortunately there was no one around that night.  Well, as I was contemplating this act, it hit me like a rock to the side of the head: "This is the first time I've done this, and I'm thirty-two."

I got to thinking, I've been running about half my life and that is about sixteen years!  I've been running over twice as long as my eldest son has been alive.  I started soccer in my middle-school years, continued until my freshman year of high-school, then I started cross-country and track.  So I've been running since my '91-'98 school year.  Yeah, see I'm old, I graduated in 2000!  Wow, that seems like such a long time.  Doing simple math in my head as I run really makes time go fast when one is on a little over two hour run.  Reminiscing is rough though, it leads me down memory lane and it reminds me of how slow I now am.  Not really bragging, just remembering; In high-school I could run about five-minute twenty-second/mile, and now, I struggle to do ten-minutes per mile.  Even just a few years ago when I was in language school in California, I had just finished my first (and only full marathon), and I was training for more marathoning.  At that time I was running about seven-minutes forty-seconds  per mile, and I was up to eighteen miles at a time.  So, I went from high-school times around sub-nineteen minute 5K to somewhere around twenty-three minutes.  Though of course I was working on much longer distances.  I often wish I had the camaraderie of a team and the knowledge of a coach to get me back to faster speeds.  I read a Runner's World article many years ago that a distance runner's prime is usually in his/her thirties.  I've never forgotten that article, but life has gotten in the way so much over the years that I don't think I'll ever get down to those times again.  It's kinda sad, but hey, life goes on.

Anyways, I've enjoyed this little break from heavier topics, may God bless you this Christmas season.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas: Part 7: Aquinas’s Cosmology: Creation, Providence, and Free Will

Sorry for the long time between posts on this topic, I've been on various other projects including classes online, a Dawkins book review, and other things.  From the lecture notes: "'Cosmology' means the logos, or rational science, of the cosmos, or the universe. It used to be a major division of philosophy, but many of its questions—questions about time, space, and matter—have been answered by modern science. Still, many philosophical questions remain, especially questions about the relations between God and the cosmos."  I disagree with the spirit of this idea, that science has answered many cosmological questions.  It seems that science holds no power when it comes to much of philosophy.  There may be some answers available about certain cosmological mysteries available in science, but they focus on the how of things, the real questions of philosophy are still completely unanswered, namely the why.  On this topic Prof. Kreeft tackles twenty questions about cosmology from Thomas' philosophy:

About Creation

1. Why did God create the world?  God has no need for anything, as such He is the perfect giver, He created the universe for our (mankind's) benefit.  Out of His "pure generosity, unselfish love, charity—which according to Christian theology is the very essence of God."

2. But how did He create the world?  He used nothing to make nothing. Thomas defends the idea "creatio ex nihilo,” creation out of nothing.  That DOESN'T mean space/empty space, formless matter, or even potentiality.  This is quite different than other "creation" stories, including Greek mythologies that have god(s) creating the universe from matter.  This reminds me of the "kalam cosmological argument."

3. But is this creation possible?  It seems that it’s like “an infinite distance cannot be crossed, but infinite distance exists between being and nothing.”  This is a false concept, God created time itself there is no previous state of the universe.  We can understand what it is not, as this discussion points out, but we can know it analogically via our own creative processes.

4. Is the universe infinitely old?  Thomas knows that this is an important point since Aristotle, one of his primary sources of logic and reason, so he needs to do more than rely on theological dogmatism to say that the earth/universe is not eternal.  Thomas says, “the newness of the world cannot be demonstrated from the world itself, nor from its efficient cause, God, for God acts by will, and the will of God cannot be predicted by reason.”  To which Prof. Kreeft responds, "Of course, we know now that Aquinas was wrong about the first of those two points. Scientists have demonstrated, from the world itself, that it is only about fifteen billion years old."  This is one of my biggest problems with this lecture series, Prof. Kreeft seems to constantly put his opinion into Thomas' mouth.  Though I agree with this idea: "The Big Bang doesn't prove the universe was created by God, but it does prove the world has not always existed."  That's actually been the primary point of the Lee Strobel book (at least the first couple chapters) that I'm reading, the theory of Evolution is not for sure, and the Big Bang theory is one of the best pieces of evidence for God.

5. Since God is perfect, and acts perfectly, did God create the best of all possible worlds?  According to the lecture, "Leibniz argued that He did, and Voltaire brilliantly satirized that idea in Candide.  Aquinas goes with Voltaire and common sense here, as he always does, and admits that this is clearly not the best of all possible worlds."  Philosophically, the concept of other worlds might be possible, but according to science, there's no evidence for other worlds (universes).  I think this is clear from theology that the reason this world is not perfect has to do with sin, not that God didn't make things perfect.

6. Is this the only universe?  Again, it's philosophically possible, but there's no evidence.

7. What about evolution? Does it contradict what Aquinas means by creation?   Again, Prof. Kreeft puts his view that Thomas would wholeheartedly accept Darwinian Evolution.

The Relation Between God and the World

8. Does God love everything in the world?  Yes: “God’s will is the cause of all things. It must needs be, therefore, that a thing has existence, or any kind of good, only inasmuch as it is willed by God. To every existing thing, then, God wills some good.  Hence, since to love anything is nothing else than to will good to that thing, it is manifest that God loves everything that exists.”  This is a very telling definition of love, to will good towards something/someone.  Obviously, a very general overarching definition, but interesting nonetheless.

9. Does God love all things equally?  No: “since God’s love is the cause of goodness in things, as has been said, no one thing would be better than another if God did not will greater good for one than for another.”  The universe is full of hierarchies.  God loves humans more than cows which is why humans are more valuable than cows (that's not to say that cows aren't valuable).  Equality among people is a noble good, but the cosmos is not a democracy.  What would that look like?  Should we weigh the desires of mosquitoes when going camping?  If humans hold no more value than cows, I don't want to join you at your house for dinner.

10. Why did God make the universe so diverse?  Did "the multitude and distinction of things come from God?”  Yes, it comes from God's will, that not only is there hierarchy in life but there is diversity, and everything has it's strengths/weaknesses and works well with other things.  This is in direct contrast to pantheism.  In pantheism everything is united, everything is indistinguishable from god--what a boring universe.

11. Do creatures lead us away from God or to Him?  There is a danger of worshipping the creature not the Creator, but there is nothing inherently bad about created things (see #5).

12. “Whether the cosmos as well as man has God as its end?”  Yes, later in ethics, Thomas will try to prove that God is the chief end of man and the whole cosmos because of final causality.  There is a point to the cosmos (and mankind) the earth is set up to be our home, the universe is more like a house in which mankind is meant to dwell.  It is not purposeless.  God is the source and essence of all existence as well as it's chief end.

What Goes On in the World

13. On chance.  Thomas says “Everything is subject to the providence of God.”  Like “the meeting of two servants, although to them it appears a chance circumstance, has been fully foreseen by their master, who has purposely sent them to meet at the one place in such a way that the one knows not about the other.”  This includes the ideas of quantum theory, it just means we don't know what that the two things were meant to be, we see it as chance or random, but in reality it is God's hand at work.

14. How does divine providence work?  God governs the universe via his middle managers (Prof. Kreeft's analogy).  Again I think he assumes too much when he says, "This is the most basic reason why Aquinas would have no theological difficulties with evolution.  In fact, he would see the use of natural forces such as “natural selection” as showing more perfection in God than special creation of each species by miracle."  God doesn't directly cause everything, He indirectly causes through other agents that He has made, including nature.

15. On free will Thomas writes, “nothing can happen outside the order of the divine government,” but “it is part of the divine government that natural things happen by nature and free human choices happen by free will.”  He doesn't see God's foreknowledge as affecting free will.

16. On miracles, can "God can do anything outside the established order of nature?” YES, because God "is not subject to the order of secondary causes, but on the contrary this order is subject to Him.” It seems funny to me, that people often criticize Christianity for its acceptance of miracles.  Even Jefferson (and other deists) were well known for their denial of miracles because it contradicted what they thought of as God.  But, it is a strange idea to doubt miracles taken in light of the creation of the universe.  God, Who created the entire universe in the Big Bang would have no problem performing a comparatively simple thing like walking on water or raising from the dead.

17. Does the cosmos include angels, pure spirits? Yes, the cosmos is more than just the physical so it's reasonable that spirits without bodies, in contrast to humans that are bodies with spirits, would exist.  It's not absolutely certain but it's not illogical.

Good and Evil

18. Are the evils in the world are willed by God?  No, because God wills things that exist, evil doesn't exist in the same manner that a tree or an animal exists.  Evil is a deprivation that is in something that is good.  God created metals and things that explode when they reach certain temperatures, but He did not will that mankind would take those good things and use them as weapons to do evil things (not that guns are only used as evil tools).

19. Can evil corrupt the whole good?  No, because like a parasite that consumes it's entire host if evil were to completely consume all things, the death of the host would also cause the death of the parasite, evil.

20. Which of the two kinds of evil is worse, pain or fault?  Most of the arguments from evil (against God), focus on pain, or natural evil.  But, Thomas sees it the other way around, much like Socrates taught that it is better to suffer evil than to do it.  Because suffering evil hurts one's body, but doing evil hurts one's soul.  This may seem callous, but it's a method of managing the universe.  God in His providence uses suffering evil to prevent some from doing evil.  This final point I don't know that I agree with theologically.  I do agree that doing evil is worse than suffering evil, I don't see it as a providential means for God to manage the universe.  I agree (and it's biblical) that God can use evil to bring about goodness e.g. Joseph.  But, I don't think that all suffering is necessarily the same.  Sometimes it just rains, again God set up the laws of nature to govern the world, and He doesn't always intervene, so sometimes it rains on both the just and the unjust.